Grassroots Science

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Photo by Jim Chapman

Grassroots Science

Discover, explore, learn, and give back to Montana's wild places

History of Grassroots Science

Grassroots science projects are a critical part of protecting our wildest landscapes. In 2015, MWA began leading groups of volunteers into diverse wild landscapes to identify and catalog wilderness characteristics. A successful season of inventorying and data collection gave MWA the tools to lead discussions and influence proposals that will continue to guide the long-term management of these varied wildlands.

From 2014 through 2016, MWA volunteers were an integral part of our winter rare carnivore species tracking program. MWA partnered with Wild Things Unlimited and Winter Wildlands Alliance to study, track, and identify wolverines along the Continental Divide near Helena. More than 50 volunteers collected critical data that provided invaluable insight for local land managers and agencies like the U.S. Forest Service. Through the dedicated work of grassroots scientists and trained project supervisors, MWA and our partners were able to successfully advocate for protecting the Continental Divide as a critical wildlife migration corridor, a decision that will be reflected in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Plan.

Grassroots science is dependent on volunteers, so please consider making an investment in our public lands by getting involved with our grassroots science projects. Whether it’s pulling weeds, solitude monitoring, or monitoring Wilderness Study Areas with the Wilderness Institute, we’re excited to see you out in the field!

Past projects include weed pulls near Porcupine Creek, Sage Creek and Burnt Timber Canyon, and a number of projects with the Wilderness Institute. We have also partnered with the Kootenai National Forest to monitor recreational use numbers and wilderness characteristics in the Cabinet Mountains. Volunteers recorded the number of people and groups they saw, wildlife encounters, campsite use, and other information. These reports were used to create important data for the Kootenai National Forest to monitor recreational use in the Wilderness. 

Upcoming Projects

No upcoming projects at this time. For more information about our Grassroots Science program, contact Matt Bowser at